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August 13, 1999

Michael Chang


MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I say it wasn't a very competitive match today. Combination of Patrick playing some good tennis and me not playing quite as well. Yeah, just when you have that kind of combination, a match can go pretty fast.

Q. Is there anything positive you can take away from this?

MICHAEL CHANG: I've definitely tried to learn some things from this match, but overall, I don't think that, you know, I should walk away feeling bad about this tournament, because technically speaking, it's really been my best tournament so far this year. You know, I think in that aspect, you know, I got a lot of positive things out of this week here in Cincinnati, even though regardless of today's match. That's a good thing. You know, like I mentioned earlier in the week, it's been important for me to get some matches under my belt, and I've been able to do that over the past couple of weeks. A step in the right direction.

Q. Was it more him just playing well, or was it --

MICHAEL CHANG: A combination. Patrick served very well today. He was hitting both his first and second serves very well. I wasn't able to really get things going the way that I would have liked. So, yeah, conditions were a little bit tough today, too. A little bit windy, but I don't think that would have made that much of a difference.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: No, no. I had a little bit of strain from yesterday's match. Nothing serious.

Q. What was strained?

MICHAEL CHANG: Just a little bit in my groin.

Q. In the two years when Patrick really started his charge, do you think he's changed?

MICHAEL CHANG: I mentioned yesterday I think he's real definitely improved a lot in from the initial times that I played him. And as the years went on, I would say that Patrick improved quite a bit. I think that, you know, whenever you're able to get a Grand Slam under your belt, I think it does quite a bit for your confidence, and really elevates your game in many, many ways.

Q. Is it one thing to watch that, though, on TV, or even live and actually be playing against him at a different level than he might be playing at?

MICHAEL CHANG: To be honest with you, I think today was a little bit tough to gauge for me. You know, it was a little bit tough to gauge for me. We didn't have the typical kind of rallies that we normally have had in the past. So in that aspect, it was difficult to really kind of tell, but he played some pretty good tennis today.

Q. You said you learned something from in tournament. What was it?

MICHAEL CHANG: Something they'll definitely apply in the future. (Laughter.)

Q. Do you have get to a match like that and -- is this one of those?

MICHAEL CHANG: A tough day at work today. Yeah. You know, it's just one of those days. I think that if I -- I think if I were to take every match that I have played this year and really analyze everything and think everything to death, I think I would probably go nuts. You know, I've had some matches this year that were just incredibly frustrating, and I think, you know, you try to learn from them, but you have to just stick them away and put them in the past. And (think) okay, next week starts Washington, a couple weeks away from the Open, let's make the most out of the next couple days and have a good week in Washington. A good week before the U.S. Open, and let's go out and give New York my best shot.

Q. Did you feel comfortable playing?

MICHAEL CHANG: I felt comfortable actually when I hit my serve. I hit that one serve and turned on the crowd. That was comfortable. That's something that I've come to -- I enjoy. Cincinnati has been a good place for me, and I would have loved to have made this match a little bit more -- a lot more competitive. I think that I have that capability, but today just wasn't meant to be.

Q. Was it more his serves?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think probably more his serves. He Aced me on second serves on a couple occasions. Got me on a couple first serves. I think I didn't get that many returns back. The returns I did get back, I got them down low and I won those points. But I just didn't get a whole lot of balls back today. You just can't expect to win a match that way. But he served well; so, it made it in many ways difficult to return.

Q. So your confidence, you still take a lot of good things about this week. Do you feel more confident about the rest of the season?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that things are definitely looking better. You know, it's a definite improvement. I think that's important. This week was a good step for me. Hopefully, you know, things will get better as the years go on.

Q. When you won that first game in the second set, did you feel like you were on your way to a third set?

MICHAEL CHANG: I never feel like I'm out of any match. I don't count myself out of any match, regardless of whether I'm down, you know, 6-2, 5-1, whatever. I don't count myself out of a match. I've been in too many situations where I've been able to get myself back, and I have to give myself that opportunity. Here, you play at this level. You play with a lot of pride and regardless of the score, you know, you never know when a match can turn. And I think being on Tour for quite some time, I realize that. So sometimes you go down 6-2, 6-1 and sometimes you're able to come back and claw your way back and win a match. You never know. But you have to give yourself that chance and the hope of maybe coming back.

Q. Depending on what happens over this weekend, either Pete, Andre or Kafelnikov could be on the No. 1 spot on Monday. Any thoughts on who you think it might be?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't know. I don't know how each one feels. I would imagine probably it would be a little bit more important to Kafelnikov more than Andre and Pete, because Andre and Pete have been there for a little bit longer. That's my gut feeling. But, you know, I think you have -- I would have loved to have been in the semifinals, but I think you do have a pretty great semifinal lineup. I don't think any tournament could ask for a better lineup. I'm kicking myself because I want to be there. I want to be a part of that. But the way these four guys have been playing, it's it should be a great weekend.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: Actually, I've been asked that question earlier in the summer, and my response has been it's been tough -- for me, it's tough to gauge being out of the Top 10. I can't tell you that, you know, in X amount of time you're going to see me in the top this or the top that. Throughout my career, I'm so used to being in the Top 10. I'm so used to saying -- well, if you tell me you see me in the Top 5, I know that if I do well in this tournament, I'm able to get there. But being ranked so low, you know, for me, I don't know -- I don't know the points. I don't know the differential and stuff like that. All I can say is that if my results improve, then I know my ranking is going to climb. But as far as like 30 or 20 or whatever, I really can't tell you where or how or when that's going to happen. But, you know, you never know. Hopefully this time next year, we will be talking Top 5 or Top 10 or maybe even better.

Q. (Inaudible.)


Q. Do you approach it differently, or do you think a guy ranked 60th --

MICHAEL CHANG: If you're talking level of play, there isn't that much that separates, to be honest with you. You could take a given day and if a guy ranked in the Top 10 is not playing as well, he's going to get beat by a guy who is maybe ranked in the Top 100. That's the depth of the Tour nowadays. The guys know it. You know, I think that when everyone is playing at their top level, it's the crucial points here and there that make the top players -- allow them to be at the top because they are able to win those crucial points and handle those situations better. But, you know, players know on any given day, if they are not playing well, they are very easy victims to be early-round upsets.

Q. Have you got to see, though, being around in a lot of tournaments, what that's like, beating a top seed and getting by?

MICHAEL CHANG: I mean, right now, I definitely have to work a little bit harder. I have to win -- when I'm playing coming here in a tournament in Cincinnati, I have to win an extra match to get into the same round as the seeded players. But that comes with the territory, and that comes with, you know, the ranking fall. You know, you have to win an extra match, but that goes with the territory. If your ranking drops, then that's where you unfortunately have to be. But, you know, it's okay.

End of FastScripts....

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